Rev. Fr. Jesus M. Miranda, Jr., OP, PhD
Thank you, thanks to that kind introduction Mam Nanette Fernandez. And of course thank you to the organizer of this 2021 summit by the UST Alumni Association headed by Dr. Evelyn Songco and its vice president Dr. Ida Tionko maraming salamat po for inviting me. And of course to our Dean at the Graduate School, Dr. Michael Vasco, and of course the UST CCPED Director Mam Jocelyn Agcaoili, and to my fellow resource speakers, good morning po sa inyo. And, of course, to all our webinar participants, good morning. And I think among speakers I think I’m the only one who is not directly involved with the industry but instead directly involved with the academe as a Faculty of the Graduate School. I would like to share with you some slides, okay, as I discuss some thoughts about this topic. Just to give a rationale of my discussion, I think there’s really an undeniably an interaction and a close collaboration if we want our society and we want our country to progress and of course to help all citizens to have a good life and all this. Because there is no one sector in our society that can help us in improving our lives. And so the academe, the industry and government should work together in order to provide this, what we may call strength. That’s why in one of my columns in Manila Times, I think that was 4 years ago or 3 years ago I’ve already mentioned this, that all three sectors should be working together. That’s why we have to break all forms of barriers that divide the education sector, the government and industry. And then I mentioned something also about the centralized knowledge productivity and the vanishing peripheries. Just like a reality check, schools are not any more the center of gravity when it comes to knowledge productivity, and I think you have heard about what they call these corporate universities, even one mentioned about your competitor is not anymore the next university in town or in the city. Our competitor now is Google because we are not anymore the center of productivity of knowledge even if we do research. But instead there are many institutions now who just like educational institutions, they are also producing knowledge. Just reading a fortune magazine, they featured one time Merck’s Pharmaceutical and they were displaying the laboratories for their training scientists. In their institution itself, at Merck’s drugs and pharmaceutical company, wherein their laboratories would even match the high-tech laboratories of Harvard and Stanford. Why? Because they really invest in that and they train their people. They don’t have to always depend on universities to provide them talents and knowledge. I think we have to be aware of that and that’s why we need to do better as higher educational institution in order to be able to respond to the needs of the Industry 4.0 and still become relevant as educational institutions. And then I have written something about the internationalization preparedness. Nowadays we always say, you know this school, we always make it a slogan we are one of the excellent schools or we are excellent. I think word excellence is the much abused word nowadays and the most butchered word. But you know I think you cannot say that you are excelling and you have level of excellence if you cannot compete internationally. That’s why you are the barometer or what we may call the measurement of success, and excellence is not something that can only be found locally but you should be ready to go out because the world has become small because of globalization. So I think those are the things that I can say about the need for close collaboration between academe, industry and the government. Now there’s a plethora of literature that speaks about the fourth industrial revolution and education. What I could suggest is at least get a hold of this three literature: the Higher Education in the Year of the Fourth Industrial Revolution by Nancy Gleason, or the one of Armand Doucet where he serves as the editor of Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and of course a very foundational literature in understanding The Fourth Industrial Revolution is Klaus Schwab of the world economic forum. Okay at least I have mentioned to you some literature that you can hold on to in order to have a wider and deeper understanding of this Industry 4.0 that is influencing all of us now. And so I’ve divided this sharing into two parts. First, where are we, as you know, as people being influenced by this Industry 4.0 and then later on to answer directly the question how do higher education or institutions of higher learning should behave should the structure should remodel themselves in order to be able to respond to the demands of this Industry 4.0. But first, where are we now being influenced by this Industry 4.0? And I think all of you might, would agree that we live in an accelerated speed of change and I think the Industry 4.0 is very influential on this. First in technology, in information, knowledge and skills, from time to time with just short while our gadgets would need to progress or would need to be changed in order to have the latest model, the latest technology in order to help us in our studies or in our work. And always remember that in our time there is already a short shelf life of knowledge and skills. Kung baga sa pagkain, ang knowledge mo at skills kung pagkain yan napapanis kaagad. Why? Because every now and then there would always be a new knowledge that would come out and then new skills that you need in order to be able to survive or you need to be able to thrive in a work where you are situated. Mabilis ang pagbabago, mabilis magbago ang mga bagay bagay, especially knowledge and skills. And I think most of you would agree on that. The world has become fast and it’s been moving fast and this is part of the impact that the Industry 4.0 has on us. And then if there is an accelerated speed of change then what kind of characteristics that you must have in this 4.0 industry. We are asked to be more flexible, adaptable, you should be fast learner and be able to sustain being an adult learner and also give emphasis on being a lifelong learner. As they say if the other universities or other institutions that produces knowledge, most likely they have same strategies with you. Most likely they have the same number of talented people; it’s like what you have. And so what’s your advantage? The only advantage you have is how fast can you learn? If the rate of learning is greater than or faster than the rate of change, most likely you would try, most likely you would succeed, most likely you would accept, and most likely you would lead. That’s why something to reflect on, how flexible are we, how adaptable are we, are you a fast learner and are you able to sustain being adult learner or lifelong learner. Soon in the discussion I would mention this. Because things move fast, because knowledge moves fast and they can change fast, then we need always to learn and relearn in order to be able to go along with the flow brought about by the impact of Industry 4.0. Borrowing this thought from the CEO of OMRON Asia, he says we are moving from this current society to autonomous society and what is that from being a centralized to distributed. And I think even in [the] financial field as something that you have heard, like blockchain. And you know that financing model, wherein as they say in blockchain, it’s not anymore depending on the central office but a decentralized banks or institutions wherein they decide on their own about the finances they do on you if you apply for business. And then we are moving from real to digital and I think much of us have experienced this in teaching. And then there is from controlled to autonomous, and then from linear to circular. That’s why I think the main thing that we need to take into consideration here is that, are you learning enough, are you learning fast in order to be able to get the data that you need for your decision making, because the decision you will be making it will not anymore depend on the central office or a central institution but instead you are given much authority now and much autonomy to decide on your own. Are you taking advantage, for example, of the data that you can gather, are you taking advantage of the skill that you need to learn or that you have already learned because sooner or later you are left on your own to decide. You are left on your own to put direction on your branch or on your institution as asked by your higher authority. Okay I think that’s one of the situations where we are. Around four years or five years ago, the University of California and Berkeley made a study research as regards to the initial impact of the Industry 4.0. And in the research, these are the items that came out. They said there is a transformation of the workplace into an era of tech disruption. And what are these? They say this time we are already having liquid workforce, employees able to retrain to stay digitally relevant. If there are companies before or organizations before, or institutions that have been hiring for life I think that’s something that they need to rethink. Why, because people now have many options. Nobody stays too long in one organization or in one institution. With so many options, how are you going to make your employee especially the talented ones stay? And then how are you going, on the other hand, you as an employee, how are you going to manage to be able to stay afloat and move from one institution to the next especially if you continue to upgrade yourself, re-skill yourself with the things that you need to learn. And then it says that Hollywood model, hiring practices, project-based work style, much of the work now are only project based. That’s why maybe they call it Hollywood model. And then there is integrated talent management, workforce planning, encompasses all types of talent, and permanent and contingent alike. And then there’s a greater flexible working options to attract mobile talent. Much of the work now, I think we have experience here, much of the work now is something that we cannot anymore find in the office but instead you can find it anywhere as long as you submit and comply with what is being asked from you especially if you are in a way very much trained on a digital platform. You can work anywhere, and I think that’s what employees are looking for. Are they given a flexible time, are they given a chance to be flexible in their working situation and all this. And then there’s skills agility as automation pervades workplace. And then training women and other workers, so they have more tech skills. And then there’s another point here that the research had pointed out: what employers and students want? University credentials that are more modular, industry-aligned, experiential, digital and I think that’s where we need to answer that question. What are we doing as educational institutions, providing for our alumni, for our students, so that the industry would find them to be attractive? Are we still providing a curriculum that is very much relevant, it is already industry aligned and I think that’s why we see the importance of this collaboration between academe and industry and even government. The standard university degrees, but also micro-masters and nano-degrees, if you try to look at it we are moving away from that too structured program that higher educational institutions are providing. Can you provide a micro-masters or nano-degrees, lifelong learning to keep skills up to date with the fast-changing knowledge that we have in skills. I think we need to relearn and relearn. Evidence of engagement in world of work such as project outcomes. Graduate degrees for a number of jobs and what kind of skills students want to be hired with a gig economy and technology. Employers prioritize skills over geography. And you see from these points that came up from the research you see there is a change of paradigm, there’s change of even framework on how employees now see themselves and how employers should address these needs. And I think these are, as the research says, these came about because of the impact of the Industry 4.0, but how ready are we as an educational institution in providing the skills that are needed by our students to address the situation. That’s why reviewing that, a book by Klaus Schwab on what industrial revolution, I have mentioned that in my column that IQ is good but EQ is better. We have to understand that the industry 4.0 is not only about the advancement of technology as Klaus Schwab mentioned, it is all about, instead, making humans at the center of the situation. Technology is just a means not an end in itself. But instead technology should be there in order to serve humanity. And so what is needed is still much collaboration among humans, among people. They should still learn how to empathize; they should build up, and in a way, make sure that they are having a good relationship with one another. Because technology could really, in a way, help advance society if humans are not in a way having a good relationship with one another. And so even if we need IQ, EQ now is the one being given emphasis on. And then another thing is that we have to be ready to go with disruption rather than evolution. There are things that evolve, we see them slowly changing but there are things that we wake up in the morning, they’re just there. For example the platforms that we all now using or we are all involved in. One day you wake up and then there is UBER, and then there is GRAB, and then there is AIRBNB. How did that, did they not evolve? I don’t think they evolved. Just one day, you just discovered that they are there they are already the most popular in a way partners that we have in our business, the platforms that operate through courseware and all this. And another thing is simplicity may be a virtue but complexity now is a necessity. If you think you still live in a very simple life, maybe you belong to the last century, because the world now has become very complex. Now if you find your surroundings to be complex, in your workplace to be complex, then most likely you live in our time because the world has become complex, and you have to be at home with complexity. I mean those are just some of the points that I’m reflecting on the impact of this Industry 4.0 and how we should address it. And so the main question now is how can we design then an education that equips learners with the knowledge and skills to thrive in this transforming world due to the impact of Industry 4.0? Or how should educational institutions of higher learning respond to these needs? And I have some points to share with you. First on the curriculum, and I mentioned here substantial change to the science and technologies curriculum is a must. Now try to see as I give an example how near or how far are you as a head of an educational institution in doing this especially if you are in the tertiary level or graduate level. The curriculum, it says curriculum remodeling, restructuring is a must so that students can develop capacity in the rapidly emerging areas of genomics, data science, artificial intelligence, robotics and nano materials. And as it says here, the 4th industrial revolution STEM curriculum would reconsider the curriculum within the traditional primary sciences that is the traditional thing that we have subjects, like biology, chemistry, and physics. Can it be a place, a higher premium for training in computer science subjects, a support for IR literacy? And I’m just reading this now, what came to my mind is what Mr. Leo Riingen of Informatics just mentioned a while ago, it’s a sad state that we need to catch up in our digital competitiveness and it says here we need to level up our knowledge on computer and digitalization. And then there’s an example here, try to see within biology, new approaches might include training within introductory courses to discuss emerging areas such as synthetic biology and molecular design. Do we have this now in our curriculum in science? Another example, new course in engineering biology that allows students to design their own life forms on computers and bio print them to solve practical problems in medicine, public health and environmental management. And then trying to see the example, a Stanford curriculum, it says here there is a new major known as bioengineering which trains students at the interface of life sciences and engineering and merges expertise and resources in the departments of medicine biology, and engineering. And now you see the interrelatedness and the interdisciplinary move in learning. And then another example that I can show you is, similar innovations within chemistry, including worldwide proliferation of courses degree programs in green chemistry which blends chemistry, biology and environmental science to allow students to engage on real environmental problems such as synthetic fuels, bioplastics, toxicology, and to train students in technique to reduce pollution. And then another example, a new physics curriculum emphasizing 4IR collaborative skills can also be developed based on projects where students design and build original musical instruments, cryptographic gadgets and other inventions collaboratively. Are we near that or are our curriculum near those things that are being developed now especially by these schools who see themselves to be advancing and responding to this impact of fourth industrial revolution. And then another example, an additional educational response for IR might require a restructuring of institutions to provide new science programs and departments in emerging interdisciplinary fields to more efficiently provide trained workers to help advance and accelerate the development of ever more sophisticated biotech, nanotech materials and AI. And then an educational plan for the 4th IR must be built upon the emerging development of hybrid online and in person instruction and efficient and seamless integration of global video conferencing and wide array of asynchronous educational resources. You see they have already thought of this even before we experienced pandemic. Now we have all this virtual classroom but even before we had these online classes they have already put this into mind about this blended approach to teaching and learning using technology of course. And then the blended instruction and optimization of flip and online courses mentioned by Mr. Leo Riingen a while ago of Informatics, this flip and online courses will make more efficient learning environments that can adapt for diversity in preparation of students and that means building on from the contribution of the third industrial revolution. So not everything that we have nowadays should only be focused on the 4th industrial revolution but much of the things that we can still use are those practices and the technology we had from the previous industrial revolution. And so what teaching and learning approaches and spaces do we need if this is the case? Try to check on these points and try to see how serious are we in giving emphasis on this. First the multi-disciplinary approach to teaching and learning especially with the disciplines that we have, biology, chemistry, math and all this history and all this. So we need to break down the stylus now of discipline because much universities now are moving into the interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. And then there is a Self Organizing Learning Environment. Are we giving emphasis on this, do we see this to be important, Self Organizing Learning Environment, because SOLE, short for Self Organizing Learning Environment, gives emphasis on self-directed learning. Some would call it pedagogy but then I think this is something that is important to us now especially that much of the time we are online. How could or how much space do we give to students so that they can have self-managed learning. And I think that is connected with the third one, the metal learning or meta-cognition, self-directed learning and thinking. Do we give much emphasis more in our classrooms or in our schools or in our digital or virtual classroom? Collaborative learning. Problem-based learning, how serious are we in providing them problem-based learning? And then how serious are we providing experiential learning to students? So these are summed up in a general form but I think something we need to reflect on. Are we already learner centered or are we still focused on being teacher centered? And then do we acquire and utilize deep skills, do we provide it for our students? And then again here is again a question of to build strong digital capabilities. Kaya nga sabi kanina, digital competitiveness is something that we need to level up among the students here in the Philippines, strong digital capabilities. And then another demand that is asked from us is to train and to teach our students who have cognitive flexibility and the interdisciplinary understanding of complex problems. And then another point that we need to harness and to have more is boot camps for learning. Some professors in tertiary and graduate level would say that this is the antithesis to higher education. Why? Because in higher education because of too much formality and structure you need to wait for one semester or two semesters in order to reskill yourselves. But in boot camps, just have a few weeks and then you can level up your knowledge and the much needed skills that you’re looking for. So those are the things that I have raised. How near are we doing this or how far are we doing this as practitioners or professors or administrators in institutions of higher learning. Now I think we will get it all wrong, [I’m down to my I think last three slides] we will get it all wrong if we think that the Industry 4.0 is just about technical or technological advancement. I think what is also being given emphasis is not only the advancement of technology and all these things that are related to it, like internet of things, artificial intelligence. But instead it’s also a time for the higher education institution to see the new role of liberal arts and humanities because as I mentioned at the center of this fourth industrial revolution, it’s not only technology but still man, but still the humanity. And so do we find or are we prepared to reformulate and to remodel in our educational institution the new role of liberal arts and the humanities. Because the liberal arts and the humanities are supposed to articulate the following: what it means to be human in the fourth industrial revolution as the revolution brings new conditions. There are new conditions now before we always relate with each other physically, personally. But now we relate with each other, as the new condition gives us, virtually. Now we got new spaces, how can this be deepened, how can we find meaning in it and how could that be articulated. And I think it’s the humanities and it is the discipline in the liberal arts that would help us find meaning and deepen our understanding of a new situation of humanity where it much is assisted by technology. I’d like to cite these wonderful words, on thought of Peter Jandric, from his article From Anthropocentric Humanism to Critical Humanism in Digital Education, “This is the shift of teaching approach from anthropocentric humanism to critical post-humanism,” and it says, “this shift of approaches stresses that digital education is more than a purely technical concern, an online environment change the dynamics of space and time to create new learning cultures that challenge our earlier notions of social interactions and enable new perspectives on our shared humanity independent of geographic boundaries.” So that’s Peter Jandric. That’s why maybe sociologically, because of technology, before we can form communities by reaching out to people physiologically, physically in the real time and then we see each other in person, but this time can we say a community that is a virtual, right? There are virtual communities, how would this and how would sociology, in a way, help us define that. Or in education can we say that what we are doing now is really the function and also the role of school when we are only having virtual education or virtual learning, online teaching and learning. There is a new relationship now by teachers and students that is mediated by technology. Who can deepen that understanding? Who can give a new definition of that relationship? And I think that’s the role of the humanities and the social sciences to help us have a higher or deeper understanding and a wider understanding and a new understanding of these new spaces and relationships that we have. In history for example, what new narratives do historians have to write with this Industry 4.0 affecting us as society, as a group of people, as a nation. And I think those are just some examples wherein we can find the humanities and liberal arts having a new approach in understanding humanity being influenced by the industry 4.0. And then take a look at number three, the role of liberal arts and humanities strengthen and sustain the social and cultural fabric of people. We don’t forget the culture of people, especially the ethnicity of people, especially the place where they are, their history and their social relationship with one another because at the center of this Industry 4.0 is still the humans. Technology is just there to be a tool. And then number four it says there, guide the moral and ethical thinking on the use of technological advancement and I think this is very very important. Why? We need morals; we need ethical principles that involve digital, biological and physical interrelatedness in humans. So how do you find this relationship among people who are only meeting and doing in a way or having relationship only virtually? How could they be governed by ethical principles or moral principles? And then lastly, it says that the role of liberal arts and humanities in Industry 4.0 is to articulate the political effects of the convergence of the physical, I mentioned this, digital and biological world. What kind of laws that need to be formulated? What are the policies that we need? What kind of norms should be given emphasis on? And I think these are all things that can be articulated by humanities through the help of the liberal arts. So in a way you know as though try to balance things the Industry 4.0, as higher educational institutions should look at it, it’s not just giving attention to technology but instead we should also see how the liberal arts and the humanities find their role in this reality that we have now being influenced by Industry 4.0. And I think that ends my presentation and then there’s a few words, Mr. Leo Riingen mentioned a while ago that this pandemic is an opportunity for us to remodel our educational approaches. And I keep on saying it, I think I’ve also written in one in my of my column when I said that if there is one thing that this pandemic had taught us and you know what is that, it has made us realize that there are many pathways towards learning. And personally I’m always an advocate of moving away of too much structure and too much formality in teaching and learning because if we give so much focus on that, much of the time what we are doing is just a compliance and not a real joy of teaching and learning. So with that, thank you very much.